“A few things have changed since last time. I live in Paris now—I needed to purge myself of a lot of negativity, and to me that meant escaping New York. It’s such a pretty place to live, and it’s an amazing city for culture and luxury, especially. The bad thing about living here is that people smoke. When I moved here [the first time] to model, I had no idea if I was going to be successful. I was this transgender girl from Massachusetts and people really bullied me a lot growing up. I never even thought modeling was a possibility. I mean, I was tall and skinny, but not beautiful. I gave up smoking, which I was really proud of, and then it was Fashion Week and I was in Paris and the bitch was on the fucking cancer sticks again! I can see the difference in my skin already. I don’t think vaping is the solution, but it’s a great alternative for now. The other tea about Paris is that people here are very judgy— that’s why at the café, instead of the chairs facing each other, they face the street so people can literally sit there and judge. Drama!
I got a breast augmentation, so now I have to dress for having boobs. It was a big decision and I did a lot of research. My dermatologist, Dr. Rita Linkner, recommended that I go to Dr. Maman at 740 Park Plastic Surgery. It was really important to me to get something that looked natural with the rest of my body, even though I’m very open with the fact that I had a breast augmentation. I think there’s still a stigma with models getting work done, and even when I first came out as transgender I was like, ‘You don’t need surgery to be trans.’ I still very much agree with that, but for me, looking at my body, I feel better now. Estrogen has really changed my face in a nice way, and my ass is nicer, my hips are a little wider—it depends on how young you go on it, but it changes where your fat is distributed. I’ve been on estrogen for seven or eight years, and now that I’ve gained a little weight I’ve really begun to see my body change. I had no hips, no ass, I was a twig. I do think there’s something very attractive about androgyny, though. My celebrity crush—and make sure you put this in the interview because I want him to fucking know—is Ezra Miller. I think he’s so gorgeous, and he’s bisexual. So, come at me Ezra!
My look is smoky eyes in the daytime, leopard print jumpsuit, sequin dresses, bustier—I really want to play up my sex appeal because I’ve never felt sexier in my life than I do right now. I’ve also worked really hard in my modeling career, and if anyone’s going to dress like a mega hoe, it’s me honey. And it's great because in some ways I think the nightlife here [in Paris] is better than in New York. For nights out, I start my routine by cleansing with Kate Sommerville EradiKate Daily Cleanser. I’ve always loved an anti-acne cleanser—I break out and I wear makeup, and it’s important to protect your skin where you can. Another big thing I’m into right now is hyaluronic acid. Typically, I’ll just go into a nice skincare store and ask, ‘Among all the brands, what’s the favorite hyaluronic acid serum?’ I want to know what people come back and buy over and over again. I’ve been using the Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex, and then the other hyaluronic acid I use is the Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Serum. I feel like that really does visibly plump my skin.
Toning is kind of a myth. If anything, an essence is better than a toner—a toner is just like an extra cleansing step. I just got this Collagen Lift Créme from Apot.Care in Paris. I’ve been enjoying it, it’s just nice and light. And then I use this Belif one because it’s an amazing hydrator. To prime my skin, I use a third moisturizer. It’s the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base, which I think is really nice because the foundation clings to it. For me, a great makeup day is when my skin is juicy.
I’m not a foundation girl, I’m a concealer girl. I use two concealers—a liquid concealer and a stick. First, I use the Born This Way Naturally Radiant Concealer. I find that in terms of makeup, if your foundation is one color, it doesn’t work. On my skin type, wearing that much makeup looks too obvious. I don’t mind looking perfect, but I don’t want to look makeup-ed. I want that J. Lo skin—glowy, plump. So, I use that concealer first, and then for any place I need some more coverage I’ve really been liking this La Mer concealer stick. I’m using it in Light 12. This is full coverage, kind of like the Clé de Peau one, which I love as well.
When it comes to eyes, I’m still using my Pat McGrath palette because it’s the best. You know what I also love? The shiny stick—Pat McGrath Skin Fetish. She calls it shiny stick backstage. I love it because it’s a nice little champagne highlight—I don’t like super glittery highlighters, and powdery highlighter is difficult to me. I use a little of this La Mer powder—chin, t-zone, the necessary powder places. It’s good because it’s quite mattifying, but it also has a little coverage. It goes well with whatever you have on.
I’m doing a warmer eye—a true-to-form Cavalli eye, that’s what I’m going to call this. Like, rich Italian sugar mama. We’re going to start by taking this color—a charcoal taupe—and working it into the crease. Brushes are really important. This is a Sephora brush—I don’t want a lot of fallout on my face, so I give it a little tap and a shake. It’s better to go in layers and build it and bring it to life. If you go in with too much pigment, it can really fuck up the look. Everything should be lifted—it’s like the snatching of makeup. Then I smoke it out underneath with another Sephora brush. I bring it in a bit towards the nose, kind of in that socket.
For mascara I like the Dior Pump’N’Volume. It’s a really good volumizing mascara, and I like it because it’s separating, too—I don’t like it when mascaras are too clumpy. I’ll probably fill my brows in a little bit, just an Anastasia Brow Wiz moment—I like to do the ends denser than the front. I’m going to put on a little contour from Anastasia, just because I think it blends quite nice. Sometimes the powders can look muddy, but this doesn’t. I blend it out with a brush, and I always blend it into the hairline. That’s one thing I did learn from Kim Kardashian—I was very anti the Kardashian beauty thing, but the forehead contour I gag for. I have a long ass face, so I’m trying to de-horsify it as much as possible.
Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton asked if I would dye and cut my hair—I didn’t have bangs before, and my hair was long and red because he had asked me to dye it red. But then he thought I needed a change, so I cut it into this Freja Beha, Joan Jett-y choppy layered cut, and they dyed it a very dark brown. I just refreshed the color that it was for the show, so it’s like a super dark auburn, almost black. Paul Hanlon cut it—he doesn’t do Louis Vuitton anymore, but he does Gucci. He’s the coolest guy and such a genius, I love him. I still have bangs, but I swooped them back today with Elnett because I feel like it’s important to have a slicked-back look for this jumpsuit—the hair needs to take a back seat.
I see my outfits and my body like a composition, as if you were curating a gallery or putting your furniture in your room. Your body is like that. Great style is well-curated. When I think of all the amazing clothes I’ve accumulated, I think of them as heirlooms. Some of these pieces are just so special and iconic. I love to use The RealReal and Vestaire Collective. I wait until some rich person decides it’s out of season and sells it. I check every day, as religiously as I check my Instagram. Once in a while you get a mega iconic piece. I would love to squash this stereotype right now that high fashion models are paid very well, because we are not. If I told you how much I’ve gotten paid for campaigns, you would be shocked. Oh honey, once I got shot for a big campaign and only got paid a thousand dollars. And now that the fashion industry has been infiltrated by celebrities and influencers, the budget goes to them. It’s really important for models to start communicating and disclosing how much we get paid for jobs, in the same way we see it across other industries. I work with the Model Alliance now and I have to stand up for them. I want that to be my legacy—she had a great walk, and she did the fucking right thing.”
—as told to ITG
Teddy Quinlivan photographed by Tom Newton in Paris on October 18, 2018.